737 Fifth Ave., Ford City, Penna.
With Steam shows increasing in interest throughout the country I would like to give a Model Engineer's viewpoint on their contribution to the success of the shows. Having traveled thousands of miles attending and displaying my engines at the various shows in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, I have met the finest people, not only brother model engineers, but the interested spectators as well. It certainly makes the long hours in the workshop worth-while when you see the smiles of interest on the faces of young and old alike as they watch the engines run. The questions they ask show a genuine interest. I was once asked by an interested lady why the dissimilar metals for crank and bearing. It turned out that she was a High School teacher and had the usual number of boys who were mechanically inclined and she wanted to learn all she could about the steam engines so she could talk a 'little shop' to them herself.
I think that Model Engines, properly shown, contribute greatly to a diversified steam show program, and I would certainly advocate the program chairman to encourage the showing of Model Engines. I had the pleasure of attending the New York Steam Engine Meet last year at Canandaigua and saw the largest display of model engines of all my travels. It was certainly worth the 325 mile trip to have the courtesies extended to me by those in charge. I'm sure any spectator would have said that the model tent was as interesting as any other aspect of the show. I once traveled 250 miles into Ohio only to find no one had thought of preparing a steam table for models. Needless to say, I will never attend that show again. We modelers often pay our way in to shows and ask only a steam or air line to make our engines run to provide that 'something different' that helps make the show a success. Ironically enough, some of the smaller steam shows we attended had the good foresight to have a model steam table set up for which we were grateful.
I am also very proud to display the participation plaques that many shows are so thoughtful to give out. True, they add to the overall cost of putting on a show but I'm sure my engineer, whether of big engines or little ones, would sooner part with a lot of other things rather than that little brass plate. It is a very kind gesture and greatly appreciated by all.
I would like to express my thanks to Rev. Ritzman and those who make up the Iron Men Album without which the saga of steam would soon fade away.